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Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Review: Johansson & Speckmann - Edge Of The Abyss

Wasting no time in between recording for each members’ other groups, International death metal collaboration Johansson and Speckmann have quickly come together to offer what might be the crowning opus for each member in the calendar year. This time joined by monster drummer Brynjar Helgetun and also presenting lead guitarist Kjetil Lynghaug, the group’s third full-length effort released September 16, 2016 through Soulseller Records comes together once again for a spectacular assault of old-school death metal.

As was prominently featured in the last album, this one here comes from the utterly dominating old-school attack that manages to feature the qualities of their two bands together in a fine mix. As “Perpetuate the Lie,” “You’ve Stepped on a Dime” and “Turn it Around” show, this one goes from the typical churning, swirling riff-patterns and the frenzied blasting tempos featured here that are mixed alongside the furious simplistic thrashing sections that create a palpable surge of energy and intensity throughout here while allowing for some strong agonized sprawling that gives it a strong touch of the old-school throughout here. When it gets to “The Last Witness is Barely Alive” and “The One They All Despised,” the mid-tempo rhythms become far more prominent and the album becomes far more straightforward and simplistic which is what drops this in favor of these plodding efforts which play far more in line with what occurs in both members’ other projects. This tends to make the album come off like simply one of them is guesting on the others’ work which is the sign of a true collaboration between them yet doesn’t really pack any kind of surprises overall by simply providing more of the same here. While that is indeed quite a package, the lack of creativity and uniqueness about this project does become noticeable.

Though it really lacks much in the way of creativity or really any surprises of any kind, the fact that this one really seems honest about working to the strengths of both members here who come from a similar background that this is a no-doubt interest to fans of both members as well as any fanatic of old-school death metal. 9/10

Written by Don Anelli

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